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Alaa Abdel Fattah: The lawyer of the Egyptian activist was prevented from visiting him despite the issuance of a judicial permit

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The United Nations says that Alaa is one of the prisoners who were arbitrarily deprived of their freedoms in Egypt.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s lawyer was prevented from visiting his client in prison, despite obtaining a judicial permission to do so.

Lawyer Khaled Ali said in a tweet on Twitter Thursday: “The Ministry of Interior refused to implement the Attorney General’s permit for us to visit Alaa, citing that the date of the permit” was the day before, that is, Wednesday.

Ali added that he arrived at the prison gate with the mother of the hunger striker, Laila Soueif, and another lawyer, but the officer in charge told them that they had to return to the Public Prosecutor “to obtain a new permit with a new date.”

Ali said that he will request a new permit to visit Alaa Abdel Fattah next Saturday, noting that this is the second time that the same situation has been repeated, “as we had previously obtained a permit from the Attorney General on June 7, 2022, and the Ministry of the Interior refused to implement it and was not able to visit him.”

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Alaa’s sister Mona Seif during her protest in front of the British Foreign Office in London.

Abdel-Fattah’s family said in a statement Thursday that Wadi al-Natrun prison officials refused to allow Laila Soueif to wait at the prison gates, and refused to receive a letter she had written to the prison director, and another to Alaa.

They told her that Alaa “underwent medical intervention with the knowledge of a judicial authority.”

“We demand information about the fact of ‘medical intervention’ and demand that he be urgently transferred to a hospital where lawyers and his family can reach him,” the statement added.

Leila Soueif told the BBC that the authorities refused to hand over her letter to Abdel Fattah and asked her to leave the prison headquarters in Wadi El Natroun, in the north of the country, after she had repeatedly visited in the past few days, since the human rights activist escalated his hunger strike on Sunday, by refusing to drink water.

Abdel-Fateh, 40, began a partial strike seven months ago, consuming only 100 calories a day, in an attempt to pressure the Egyptian authorities to allow British diplomats to visit him.

With the authorities continuing to prevent him from visiting the consulate, and not recognizing his British citizenship, Alaa told his family in a letter that he would stop drinking water with the opening of the climate conference in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday.

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Alaa’s sister Sana Seif during her speech to reporters on the sidelines of the climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh

After three days of no news of him, his family demanded that the authorities prove that he was still alive, and were concerned that he might be force-fed or injected into a vein without his consent.

The family was responding to statements by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who told his French counterpart that Egypt is “committed to ensuring the preservation of Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s health”, and also to the comments of Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, in which he stressed that “the necessary health care is provided to inmates.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons on Wednesday that he had raised the issue of Abdel Fattah with President El-Sisi at the climate summit and that his “deep concern” was becoming more urgent by the day.

He added, “We will continue to pressure the Egyptian government to resolve the situation. We want Alaa to be released and reunited with his family as soon as possible.”

The United Nations Human Rights Coordinator, Volker Türk, warned Tuesday that Abdel Fattah’s life is “in grave danger”, describing him as one of many Egyptians “arbitrarily deprived of their liberty and imprisoned after unfair trials on multiple occasions.”

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Alaa Abdel Fattah during his trial in 2015

Abdel Fattah is one of the prominent activists in the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt, and has spent about nine years in prison so far.

He was sentenced to prison in 2014, after Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power in Egypt. He was released and then arrested again in 2019, and was sentenced to another five years in prison in 2021 for “broadcasting false news”, a charge that human rights groups condemned and considered untrue.

Alaa obtained British citizenship in December 2021 from his mother, who was born in London.

Human rights groups said he was one of an estimated 60,000 Egyptian political prisoners, and accused the Egyptian government of trying to “improve the image” of its oppressive reputation by hosting the climate summit.

The Egyptian government insists that there are no political prisoners in the country.

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